tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe WHUT November 1, 2012 9:00am-9:30am EDT
>> hello. i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first, political gaffes. >> the last days of the presidential race have become a pitch battle for swing voters in battleground states. and women are the coveted swing voters of 2012. they're called waitress moms, described as a rung or two down the economic ladder from the soccer moms of the more prosperous 1990s. meanwhile that prickly issue of abortion detonated once more this week when richard mourdock, the gop senate candidate in indiana talked about rape and pregnancy during the latest debate. >> life is a gift from god. when it begins in the horrible situation of rape, that is something that they intended to happen. >> gop candidate mitt romney distanced himself from the remark. but despite objections from women's rights groups romney
didn't pull this campaign ad. >> i hope you will join me in supporting richard murdoch. this, of course, after freshman house republican joe walsh of illinois insisted there is no such thing as an abortion to protect a woman's life or health because of "advances in science and technology.". and representative todd akin's infamous remark about women's bodies shutting down to prevent pregnancy in cases of so-called "legitimate rape." >> so doctor, are these extreme remarks by republicans distancing themselves from these remarks, are they what are keeping abortion front and center? >> they are actions. they remind women of people trying to redefine rain rape.
the words are bad enough. the actions are worse. >> i disagree, bonnie. i think it's to the less advantaged to keep this conversation going. most of them are concerned about the state of the economy and jobs and that's what they are going to the whole thinking about. >> what we know is abortion is the leading topic for women. 39% to 19% to the economy. with the electorate being 56% women, swing voters being a key women demographic, the candidates and the campaigns need to address the issue and have to be in front of it. that's why they are trying to make it an issue. >> i laugh because murdoch's comment along with todd akin, it's men bation the dumb remarks and not representative of the republican party. what i think is funny -- >> it's not unrepresentative enough that candidate romney is
willing to drop that ad. >> i think it's not representative of the republican party. how i'm going to finish answering the question is that what's happening is democrats and president obama are doing a trumped-up war on women. they started it up in majority of. march. women are smarter than that. romney is tied 47% with obama about the vote. this is about our pocketbooks and bank accounts and jobs and women has been effected with the jobless rate under president obama and that's what it's about. it's not working. >> i don't think it's funniy at all. it's not funny because we are not going to fall for it in the end. women were told that the reason why republicans wanted to get into congress is because they wanted to do something about the debt. they got in there and immediately attacked the plan on
parenthood. they passed 26 laws in hundreds of states. they have here a woman who is attacked, called a slut for wanting access to contraception and a candidate that just said, i wouldn't phrased it that way. exactly how would he have phrased it? >> that's a false narrative. >> i don't want to get off the topic of women -- okay. i will give you that time. i want to get to the impact on swing voters so-called by "the new york times" waitress moms and what is this going to do to the pitch battle in ohio, in florida, in virginia for women voters in the united states. >> we see the so-called waitress moms. we love the heart of tagging that. >> fancy that. >> these are women who typically voted for president obama in the last election cycle.
but are struggling with, we are struggling economically has he upheld his promise and still don't love romney as an option either. we are seeing and talking about the women's issues, they are family issues. these are household issues. they are economic issues. access to healthcare, access to birth control. how many kids we have, those are economic issues. it's going to come down to in so many ways a popularity contest, do i trust the candidate to handle the issues related to the economy. >> i want your thoughts on swing voter waitress mom soccer mom or security mom. you said something about pansy dads, what is all of this talk about abortion affect your swing vote? >> i'm going to agree with what you said, women don't like being talked down to.
all of the name calling about women. we were songer moms, and waitress moms the idea of the waitress mom and the definition, working blew collar mom. she has more than one job. so does the husband. what the pollsters have found, they are independent. they want to know who has the more believable message for the future. funny enough, the so-called waitress moms are leaning to the right. they are more inclined to vote for a a conservative. what it boils down to is jobs. a lot of the talk, we can argue about where we think this narrative is coming from about reproductive rights. when i talk to women whether republican or conservative or independent, they find it demeaning. we are not saying, you are controlled by your penis. we can all agree that i want to hear a message of empowerment.
>> many of those women who may be ranking abortion or pro-life spot -- voters. at the end of the day, in the swing states, i think it comes down to pocketbook and ledgetively what's most likely to happen? are we talking about federal laws of abortion or a budget? >> that's an interesting question. haven't seen data. do we have data on what percentage of the 39% of women that rank it as their top issues are pro life? >> they didn't break it down. that is you are probably right it's women on both sides of the aisle. when you look at polling of women on issues related to abortion and the term abortion is polarizing, when you talk about reproductive rights issues. women pole similarly on their opinions on instances of rape or what it means to women. the bigger question is, what do women feel about economically tied to issues of reproductive
rights. >> here we are a week and a half before the election, what's going to sway that undecided women? is it going to be romney cutting taxes and that's his road to creating jobs or is it going to be the extremist remarks and she's saying, wait a minute. i may not be super pro choice, but i'm also, i don't want men telling me what to do with my body. >> i think women do weigh these issues seriously. chick issues are bread and butter as are the freedom for them to choose for themselves on their own health. women think of it in broad ways. they wonder why it's difficult for a woman should say that they be paid for the same job. a woman understands that in order to control how often she goes into work, how she's able to, what types of jobs she's
able to get, she needs to space her children. she doesn't understand -- >>d let's talk about governor romney's record. i know everyone wants to seize on the binders. excuse me. i want to f get to my comment. we are going to talk about this later, governor romney said, hey, i'm looking around. i have a stack full of resumes from men. give me a binder full of resumes. i like that. >> but here is my -- >> 42% he appointed of his people in his cabinet. 412% of those people who worked for him were women. >> they equate as a male counterpart. >> but let me ask you this -- >> no, they will -- are not. >> this is all that matters at this point in time. women in swing states in ohio is not soa which much -- so has obama.
but really come ahead in ohio 5 pointsad ahead in ohio. >> and the electoral college which as of late this week, "the new york times" blog on the electoral college was showing obama at 290 and romney is 217. the crucial swing women voters in swing states, whose side are they going to come down on and why? game.s a ground i don't think the republican comments help the republican party in that way. at the same time, it's going to be about -- it's who do we trust? the ads i would like to see -- the grounds game the getting out the vote. >> that's right. whether this franken storm effects it -- i would like to see ads of doing dishes and
taking care of my baby. that's what would win my vote. >> let's talk about what has moved some swing women. it was the first debate appearance from governor rick r. he was excellent. that evente gave a lot of swing voters permission to support romney someone who they now see as an alternative. >> that's right. no women's issues were raised in that first debate. when we saw in the second debate when the presidential candidate answered a question around pay equity, it shows us once again how the republican party fails to address the issues that are specifically important. >> that was not true. romney talked about -- let me finish. when he was governor. women came to him -- >> that's not true. >> can i talk? women wanted time, they wanted flexible work schedules. they shared jobs where they can go home. you know what he said in that
debate, it's important for women to be home with their kids and job share. it's not about lily ledbetter. >> what's going to sway those undecided votersci in swing stas >> continuing discussion about swing jobs. >> let us know what you think. please follow me on twitter @bonnieerbe. from women voters to gender equity across the pond. >> the european parliament has rejected luxembourg's top central banker for a job at the european central bank, an unprecedented move taken to protest the lack of women within the organization's leadership. parliament members want european union leaders to recruit more women candidates. there are no women in any of the top leadership posts at the bank. the parliament cannot require women to be considered and governments could still approve the nominee to the post. but they hope they're sending a
message. >> so what are your thoughts and could or should this ever happen here? wrote, don't we wish. >> we are seeing trends of companies addressing the matter. arehe they willing to put their words into actions? it is become apparent -- the companies and organizations and countries make more money when there's parity on board. the suisse research found that 13% more is what they make when they have parity on board. we talk about binders a issues related to, there are qualified women who can fill these posts. there's a natural gaffetation to hire women like them. we love to see these things happening stateside.
there's clear remember no assistance. while there's 325 votes to not accept the nomination there were 325 to accept them and 29 people said we are not going to weigh in. there's a cultural shift that happens. in order to push that shift forward, we do need laws and thinkings like this to happen. >> if you are voting against someone in a position because of his sex because he's male, that seems wrong to me. not fair. >> let me reposition that a little bit. i don't thinkdo it had anythingo do with that individual person per se. it had to do that it's worse economic crise -- crisis in recent history. there are 11 members of the central bank board. not one is a woman. why do w you see it as against e guy? >> well, i think that in any position whether it's on a board or in a part of government, we
want the best people doing the job. regardless of their gender. we should expect to see more women being hired as c.e.o.s and on boards, we don't need to push this legislatively or push it in terms of quotas. that may result in discrimination against men. >> what we are talk about doing is f expanding the field that ae outside ofou the traditional places that you look. that's what affirmative action is. >> i have to ask, you have angle as prime minister of germany and legard as head of the international monetary fund. are you telling me there are not milling that could do this job in times of distress since the men running things they ought to look far? >> a woman did hold the position
on the european bank board i believe. i want to w go back to two poins hadley talked about not just filling someone for a position of a quota. i agree with that. we also to your point, i'm a black woman, i'm going to gravitate to p other black women when i'm trying to use contractors or whatever. i might have blinders on. i like the bob johnson approach. he's ao billionaire that made hs money off of b.e.t. he wants to see more blacks on the board room level and executive positions with the fortune 500 companies. i'm going to give everyone a mission. i want you all. to put more blacks, get those resumes to me. i like what the e.u. is doing with vice president -- respect to saying, we reject this guy, we know there are women out there qualified too.
>> behind the headlines, kathleen turner. the actress is mixing art with politics these days, playing to packed audiences in the hitli one-woman show red hot patriot. turner plays the brash, outspoken journalist molly ivins. >> i don't see politics that top to left. it's from top to bottom. the only political questions who is getting screwed and who is doing the screwing. >> i took on the role of molly ivins because i love the woman. i got to meet her several times over the course of the years. we have many common causes, our activism meet. she was an advocate for women and women's health. so our paths crossed in that way. i had a chance to get a sense of
the woman's huge love and enjoyment of life and that's very attractive. >> molly ivins was a liberal texan, syndicated columnist and best selling author who died of breast cancer in 2007. through turner's performance ivins' humorous political commentary lives on. turner's show ran in philadelphia last year. she brought it to dc before the election to inject ivins' attitude into the polestar of politics. >> to bring it to d.c. before this election would be probably the most useful thing i could do, you know, as an actor and as a presence for women now in this because this is very much -- it's also, not just doing the play, which ultimately is really about activism, about participating, about taking up
your citizenship and using it and being a citizen is ultimately what molly is advocating for.te >> turner uses her fame for political advocacy and she takes that role very seriously. >> i think when you have a >> i think when you have a certain amount of fame and you will be attracting attention no matter what, how you use it is a grave responsibility. i do not believe in propaganda, i do not believe in proselytizing. i do believe in making people think and so if as an actor i can present a piece that makes people think about their old position, think about um, you know, what might be happening here or what they might do about something, absolutely, you bet. >> turner chooses roles to challenge people's views of
women. one of her most famous movies, body heat, still has people talking. >> body was one heck of a, was an astonishing debut, opportunity as a debut. and we thought at the time, that 31 years ago that we were breaking new ground that we were pushing new limits on sexuality in this country, which is to me, always been such a huge area of hypocrisy, that we don't approve of so many, of sexuality per say, but we use naked women to sell beer and cars. never did like that. >> turner acknowledges she's past what some consider an actress' "expiration date."st but that doesn't stop her. in red hot patriot, she took on one of america's most controversial political commentators and the role changed her.
>> there were many things that i learned from molly and i wanted to incorporate more and more in my own life. she would say or she would write, beloved, and i think she felt that way toward people,wa toward americans, that she had that sense of, it's more than compassion, it's empathy as well, that felt that she could almost embrace all types and beliefs in this great love of the american people, and i think that's wonderful. >> so do you think it's a good why is idea when actresses and actors take on political causes like this? >> i think it's their right. i support that. we see it more on the left.
for example, red hot patriot is an excellent production, i'm sure, in many ways the left has a better job in entertaining people and bringing them in politics for an entertaining way. i think the right-hand side has an uphill claim to do that. i like being engaged in politics that way. >> i don't see kathleen's play about being right or left. she was an inspiration for women, molly. and she brought so much into politics that we lack so much. that was humor. and a genuine love of people. and she really respected people on both sides of the aisle. this is a woman in time of texas that was cowboy boots and the macho things. she was the texas thing of say, that is the ugliest dress i have
ever seen, bless her heart. you put in that bless her heart and it makes it okay. in the political discussions we have today, we could use more of that and she created genre of politics where in texas it's a circus. she brought a new life to it. >> i do think we all need to let our hair down. that's a woman's prerogative. we need to do that. truly in this campaign and have a little fun and shucking and jiving is what i say. i will get dinged for that. back to what hadley is saying, i think democrats do a great job of making politics sexier. they have more actors in hollywood like kathleen turner come out. it's sad that hollywood is dominated by liberalism, when
clint eastwood showed the support for romney, he was not welcomed in the same fashion. we need h to get more actors on our side. >> that's it for this edition of to the contrary. please follow me on twitter at bonnie erbe and at to the contrary and check our website, pbs.org/ttc, where the discussion continues. whether you agree or think, to the contrary, please join us next time.